The U.S. government has contracted with Paradise Cruise Lines for their luxury, ocean-going cruise ship the Grand Celebration.  Until the end of December, Grand Celebration will be used to feed, house, and transport National Guard Soldiers supporting hurricane recovery efforts in the Caribbean.  An unknown number of Soldiers will call this cruise ship their “home away from home” for the next three months.

Under contract to FEMA, “Celebration” is the only ship in the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s fleet and is home-ported in Palm Beach, Florida.  The 1,900-passenger ship will now be in direct support of Soldiers rebuilding and providing security to the U.S. territories devastated by two enormous hurricanes.

“Celebration” will arrive in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I., Saturday, September 23.  The cruise liner was initially scheduled to stay until the end of the year but after Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 with winds of 155 mph, tore through Puerto Rico today, the ship’s contract might need to be extended.  The entire island of three million people is officially without power.

It is unknown how much FEMA paid for the three-month contract for the Grand Celebration, but tourists cruising to the devastated islands will be almost non-existent for months. The Bahamas Paradise Cruise Lines just made the deal of a lifetime.

The units of National Guard Soldiers who will be housed aboard the Grand Celebration have yet to be identified.